Fact Sheet: 1,1-Dichloroethylene


Brief Overview:
Contaminant: 1,1-Dichloroethylene
Category: Organic
Source: Manufacture of adhesives, synthetics fibers, saran type materials.
Effect: Liver and kidney damage, cancer
Followup: Treat and retest quarterly
Treatment: Granular activated charcoal

1,1-Dichloroethylene (1,1-DCE) is an organic liquid with a mild, sweet, chloroform-like odor. Virtually all of it is used in making adhesives, synthetic fibers, refrigerants, food packaging and coating resins such as the saran types.

An estimated 90,700 tons/yr of 1,1-DCE were produced in the USA during the early 1980s. It may be released by evaporation or in wastewater during its production and use in the manufacture of plastic wrap, adhesives, and synthetic fiber. It may also form in groundwater that has been contaminated by similar solvents.

From 1987 to 1993, according to the Toxics Release Inventory, releases to water and land totalled over 11,500 lbs. These releases were primarily from facilities which make plastics materials/resins. The largest releases occurred in Kentucky.

What happens to 1,1-DCE when it is released to the environment? Releases to water will primarily be lost to the atmosphere through evaporation. 1,1-DCE will evaporate from soil and will leach into the groundwater where its fate is unknown, but degradation is expected to be slow. Its tendency to accumulate in aquatic life is unknown but expected to be minor.

Short-term: EPA has found 1,1-DCE to potentially cause the following health effects when people are exposed to it at levels above the MCL for relatively short periods of time: liver damage.
Long-term: 1,1-DCE has the potential to cause the following effects from a lifetime exposure at levels above the MCL: liver and kidney damage, as well as toxicity to the developing fetus; cancer.

Treat and retest quarterly.

Granular activated charcoal in combination with Packed Tower Aeration